Producing for Brazilian artist Cadu Ramos

Producing "De Bobeira" for Cadu was a full on blast. He laid down a guitar and vocal scratch track over a hip hop beat and the sculpting began. Combining a modern vocal style with spoken word and rapping made his Portuguese lyrics dance over the acoustic guitar and urban beats. After arranging his parts with the beats and drawing some amazing background vocal work out of him, I added some Fender Rhodes (teaming up with Cadu's super catchy bass line) and re-tracked the guitar parts for an ultra-close-up feel.
Check out his music video for "De Bobeira" below. Oahu Noth Shore based film maker, Bruno Lemos, a Brazilian ex-pat himself, shot and produced the visuals:

If you know how to read Portuguese, click on the imagebelow to check out an interview at Alma Surf:

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On the epic music front, my track ALIEN INQUISITION got featured on another YouTube channel:

I've been enjoying embedding heavy hitting guitar riffs in trailer-music productions. Oh so much fun to combine dramatic sound design and epic drums with down-tuned, gut-wrenching string bombs. Much thanks to EpicMusicChannel!

Three tracks featured on Atlantis Heaven Music

Popular YouTube channel, Atlantis Heaven Music, is currently featuring three new pieces of mine: "HYMNE DE NUAGES", "METAL TRAILER PARK  and "SHADOW RUN".

Combining still-images with cinematic music has been getting extremely popular in the last few years. And, with YouTube quickly becoming the way to listen to music, more and more virtual places and platforms, such as Atlantis Heaven Music, have been gaining viewership dramatically. Being first and foremost a visual platform, YouTube forces people to upload music in form of videos - or at least still images as videos. And this has become an effective way of getting people to listen to music - music that empowers the stories and messages a piece of art is trying to convey.

Click on the image above and you will be able to look at the image/movie with my piece "Hymne de Nuages" telling the story and making the artwork come alive. I actually really like the image that got picked by Atlantis Heaven Music and how they describe the music in a category as 'Beautiful Music'. "Hymne de Nuages" is only partly a misnomer, since I really do hear the siren calls of the guitars as if they were voices. And the celebratory character of the harmonic structure just drew me in, begging me to go with the story so to speak. I can definitely imagine this piece working well for a dream sequence in a sci-fi film or for a reflective part of a drama.

"Shadow Run" is absolutely on the opposite end of the dynamic spectrum. It was almost too much fun to combine super heavy rhythm guitars with left-hand piano accents, pretty much like bombs hitting their target. This composition was very much written with a classic trailer cue in mind: A suspenseful intro moves into a dynamic lead up to a first epic percussion climax... etc. dark thriller, horror shocker and/or action scene material - you get the point! Very fun writing and tracking!

"Metal Trailer Park" happens to also be an in-your-face trailer cue, designed to wow and get the listener's adrenalin pumping. This was actually the piece that gave me the idea for my own art/music platform, @AlienGuitarWorlds, and I had, initially, paired up the composition with a dramatic skyline of an alien mega city with a bombastic space ship hovering above. But the battle image, picked by Atlantis Heaven Music for their platform, works really well, too.

All three of these new tracks are unsigned. Please contact me directly with any licensing inquiries. Thanks for tuning in! And, if you LIKE, you can follow my own guitar-centric art/music platform, @AlienGuitarWorlds, on Facebook and/or YouTube!

- HF

New compositions on @AlienGuitarWorlds

Just finished two new tracks for this social media platform that features high-impact music in combination with story-loaded images and artworks: AlienGuitarWorlds now added "HYMNE DE NUAGES"  and "SHADOW RUN".

In lieu of sounding too literal, I decided to give the newest piece a French title. "Hymne de Nuages" is only partly a misnomer, since I really do hear the siren calls of the guitars as voices. And the celebratory character of the harmonic structure just drew me in, begging me to go with the story so to speak. The two cloud streams became a perfect analogy of the voice-like guitars - I can definitely imagine this piece working well for a dream sequence in a sci-fi film or for a reflective part of a drama.

"Shadow Run" is absolutely on the opposite end of the dynamic spectrum. It was almost too much fun to combine super heavy rhythm guitars with left-hand piano accents, pretty much like bombs hitting their target. This composition was very much written with a classic trailer cue in mind: A suspenseful intro moves into a dynamic lead up to a first epic percussion climax... etc. dark thriller, horror shocker and/or action scene material - you get the point! Very fun writing and tracking!

Thanks for tuning in! And, if you LIKE, thanks for 'following' this platform on Facebook and/or this platform on YouTube!

- HF

Before+After: THREE PETALS AFLOAT

So many times, less is more! Of all the 10 pieces, the most basic and easy guitar piece has been the stickiest of melodies - in the German language we like to call this an 'ear worm'. And the essence of this piece has been winding through my sonic psyche ever since I came up with it.

The guitar delivers the main theme on "THREE PETALS AFLOAT". It's a simple but effective line that gets embedded in orchestration more and more with every repetition. At first, the piano adds texture to be then accompanied by more dramatic string section swells. It all leads to an exciting bridge part where the percussion section has got a lot of work to show off. 

Before+After: Low Tuning on 'RED RUSHES BY'

Tuning the low E string down to a C and the high E string down a half step to Eb gave me somewhat of a C Dorian slate with this new set of open strings. The guitar part to 'RED RUSHES BY' plays a bit more of a supportive role within the orchestral arrangement. But hearing the guitar all by itself, nonetheless, reaffirms how inspiring this different resonance of the instrument was for the piece as a whole. The guitar felt almost alien, resonating at a different sweet spot of the frequency spectrum - inspiring uncharted territory for my personal playing style.

The lower string tension made the string bends feel and sound different as well. So, I decided to dwell on that and let this rhythm figure lock into different percussion and string staccato patterns. A fun foundation for the muscular theme played by trombones and French Horns.

Before+After: DESERT DANCE - inspired by Leo Brouwer

Probably the biggest, formative influence on my finger style approach has been the study of Leo Brouwer's guitar etudes. I remember when my classical professor, Steven Novacek, presented these to me back in 1995. It was a musical revelation for me in many ways. In fact, the rhythmic juxtapositions and dissonances that Brouwer uses so elegantly, and at the same time so boldly and with such a macho delivery, have influenced even my rock guitar playing style.


While writing the guitar parts and classical-style pieces for STRINGS IN ACTION, I kept catching myself recognizing Leo Brouwer's style. I had to try hard to not rip him off, simply because so much of his style is embedded in my muscle memory.
'DESERT DANCE' definitely falls under this Leo Brouwer spell by both using small interval arpeggios that use lots of open strings as well as muscular rhythm riffs that gel with the brass and lower strings.
This album is intended for industry and won't be available in the general, public realm. But I am previewing all 10 pieces on my site for the next couple of weeks - feel free to listen to the whole album, streaming in high quality MP3 format here: FAHLINGMUSIC.COM

Before+After: SEVEN 50

'SEVEN 50' was probably the first, classical piece that I started orchestrating maybe 6 or 7 years ago. It has a really fun opening riff that can be played at lightning speed, if you want to impress someone with your guitar skills. It actually is quite easy once you master the string skipping, legato and ostinato on the high E string.
In any case, I probably did about 3 different arrangements for the orchestral part. So, 'SEVEN 50' was somewhat of a warm up to all the other pieces on 'STRINGS IN ACTION'. It features a focus on the aeolian sound with the second section of chordal arpeggios. Going from an Em7 9/11 to an Am7b13 and a Dm7b13. This opened up a lot of options for dissonance with a certain shimmer effect in both guitar and the orchestral score.
This album is intended for industry and won't be available in the general, public realm. But I am previewing all 10 pieces on my site for the next couple of weeks - feel free to listen to the whole album, streaming in high quality MP3 format here: FAHLINGMUSIC.COM

Before+After: SCISSOR BLOSSOMS

My new production music album, called "STRINGS IN ACTION", has finally been finished. Simply for kicks, I've been filming myself playing the guitar parts for each of these compositions in order to show the before+after effect of what these classical guitar pieces for this project sound like by themselves. Each beginning segment of the solo piece is followed by the same guitar piece that includes the orchestral arrangement.

Some of these compositions use alternate tunings in order to facilitate the execution and resonance of certain riffs and musical keys. This first video is of SCISSOR BLOSSOMS, for which I tune the third string down a semitone to F#. I am planning to go live with a new before+after video every two or three days.

Many thanks to Billy Kam, Robert Savery and Joaquin Diaz for lending me your ears during the mixing part of this project. Extra special thanks to Billy for lending me a great pair of large membrane GENERA studio mics to buddy up with my Avantone CV12 in recording the guitar.

Now, this album is intended for industry and won't be available in the general, public realm. But I am previewing all 10 pieces on my site for the next couple of weeks - feel free to listen to the whole album, streaming in high quality MP3 format here: FAHLINGMUSIC.COM

Should you feel like any other people, such as music supervisors, film editors, publishers, and library owners/execs, should hear this material, I would really appreciate feedback, referrals and even FB shares. Thanks in advance

Before+After: FAR AWAY BATTLE CRIES

Writing and working out classical guitar pieces for my up-coming album STRINGS IN ACTION gave me the idea to let the guitar stand on its own - for show. Most of these pieces work well by themselves, while some, written simultaneously with the orchestral score, do need the strings and brass and cinematic percussion to really come to live. This is the case with FAR AWAY BATTLE CRIES (below):

This particular piece was definitely inspired by Zimmerian scores such as the ones he did for 'Inception' and Batman. I do like most of Hans Zimmer's writing, but his heavy use of brass, especially the extraordinary amount of trombones in his Batman work, gave me the idea for the ending on FAR AWAY BATTLE CRIES. The simple guitar part really comes to life on top of the French horns and trombones.

Listen to the complete track and more here... STRINGS IN ACTION

Teaser Track: Strings in Action

Here is a first 30 sec teaser track for my up-coming production music album. It's called 'STRINGS IN ACTION' (this piece will be called 'Scissor Blossoms') and it combines classical guitar pieces with orchestral arrangements, all sticking to a very cinematic sound. The process of writing these pieces has been very much a give and take when thinking of the guitar arrangement within the orchestral sound. I actually have been writing both at the same time, sometimes starting with an orchestral texture and writing guitar parts according to that beginning… and vica versa.

It's been very refreshing and a lot of fun. The digital workflow comes in so handy for something like this. But the real basis for making this work has been a lot of listening as well as two books that I have been actively studying: 'Principles of Orchestration' by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov and Berlioz/Strauss' 'Treatise on Instrumentation'. The process of 'reenacting' many a lesson within 'Principles of Orchestration' has turned into several springboards, or starting points, from which I have begun orchestral ideas and launched them into full arrangements. Just a great book.

 

Surf Garage Honolulu: Original Shoot

Taking my tele to the Surf Garage on King Street, just past University, raised a few eyebrows at first. But I had been brainstorming for a while about images for a cover idea on "The Water Rule". The guys at the shop were totally cool with me moving the telecaster all over the floor in order to shoot reflections of their surfboard line up in the high gloss lacquer of the guitar.

The Surf Garage (http://www.surfgarage.com) specializes in high end boards by shapers such as Donald Takayama, Chris Christenson, Bing, Dick Brewer, Firewire, Hobie, Robert August, Ben Aipa, Scott Anderson, Surfboards Makaha, Con Surfboards and others. Some really cherry pieces on display whenever you walk in… one of my favorite board shops!

Inspiration for 'The Water Rule'

All the tracks on "The Water Rule" were guided in their development by the feeling and style of my favorite surf-films: 'Single Fin: Yellow' (Jason Baffa), 'One California Day' (Jason Baffa) und 'Sprout' (Thomas Campbell) all were shot exclusively on film, not digital cameras. They have a very organic, vintage look and sport very inspiring sound tracks with music by various contributors.

Especially 'Single Fin: Yellow' (http://www.jasonbaffafilms.com/jbfilms/sfy_trailer.html) hit a nerve with me. The music is so refreshing and vintage sounding that it perfectly compliments that organic look and feel of the 'film'. Grainy to smooth to smeared, but never showing any pixellations that are seen on so much other, modern surf footage. I tried to capture that very feel in the sound of this album.

Every time I'd be in the water on my board I would most likely have come straight from my studio working on these tracks. In the water, I would let that reel of music keep on spinning, sometimes, going right back into the studio afterwards and picking up where I left off - literally refreshed for working on the music with a new perspective.

Mastering by Milan Bertosa

Milan was invaluable in finalizing this project. His ears are amazing. I realized that after the first run on mastering these 12 tracks when he gave me a list of clicks and pops on various tracks that I would have never heard even when isolating instruments. It goes to show that famous artists such as Jake Shimabukuro, John Cruz, Amy Hänaiali'i, the late Bruddah Iz, a.k.a. Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole and many more choose to work with Milan.

His work on this album gives it a special sheen, both providing the necessary modern punch as well as fostering the vintage character of spacing the instruments hard left and right. Wide stereo imaging can be tricky with today's expectations of extra punchy masters. But Milan's mastering skills have definitely retained this modern standard while staying true to the vintage aspirations.

Guitars & Amps on "The Water Rule"

All guitar tracks on "The Water Rule" were recorded on either a Stratocaster or a Telecaster. The latter is actually a Modified Tele Deluxe that sports two hum buckers. So, the spankier guitars were done on my strat and the Larry-Carlton-meets-Steely-Dan musings come from my tele. It was a lot of fun generating the 70s guitar sounds that I was shooting for on this guitar-heavy album.

Since I started gathering musical ideas for this album about 5 years ago, the first guitar tracking was done using my Fender Hotrod Deluxe, captured with an Octava large membrane condenser behind the cone and a Shure pistol mic in the front. About two years ago, I invested in a Yamaha THR10 desktop amp that is also a USB2.0 interface. I will not do without it anymore and, in fact, about 70% of this album was done with the combination of this amp and the Tele… no need for any microphoning at all. Let me know what you think!